Cape Wind Gets Green Light Again

The controversial Cape Wind project got the go-ahead (again) this week to build the first offshore wind farm in the US, off the coast of Massachusetts. 

In the latest twist to this on-going 10-year saga, an appeals court ruled against the project yet again, this time because  the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) purportedly failed to justify how the wind project would not pose a risk to air traffic.

Now the FAA reiterated its position: the 440-foot-tall turbines at the Cape Wind site will not pose risks to air traffic. "Construction of the 130 wind turbines, individually and as a group, has no effect on aeronautical operations," says the FAA in a statement.

You can expect this latest ruling to be appealed again by the same opponents- the Town of Barnstable and the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound. Their concerns range from worries over wildlife to declining property values.

"For years, the aviation community has warned of the considerable safety risks posed by the 25-square mile, 130-turbine project due to its proposed location in the middle of a highly trafficked, low altitude flight corridor in Nantucket Sound that features rapidly changing weather conditions," says the Alliance about the latest ruling. "No pilot or passenger should allow this politically-driven decision to stand."

Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee also vow to scrutinize Cape Wind because they believe the FAA may have been pressured to approve the project.

After 10 years of local protests and lawsuits, and regulatory red tape, Cape Wind received final approval in April 2011 and was set to begin construction last fall before the appeals court decision got in the way.

The $1 billion, 468 megawatt project would be built 4.7 miles off the coast of Massachusetts in Nantucket Bay. It would supply  75% of the electricity for Cape Cod and the Islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket – more than 200,000 homes.

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